Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, is my everything.
I've been watching her cook beautiful spreads in her spotless—but not inaccessibly so—kitchen, and then throughout the pages of her books, for as long as I can remember. My best memories from middle school involve faking sick so I could stay home and lie in my parents bed, propped up on my elbows, mesmerized as she peeled potatoes effortlessly on the screen of their shoebox-sized television. As I was finding myself as a cook (and an opinionated eater) in high school, I'd make her coconut cupcakes once a month. I don't dread New York winters, because when they come, I know it's the season to curl up with a bowl of her roasted tomato and basil soup. When I became a full-time recipe developer, I sat my boyfriend Nate down and told him, "You know, this makes you my Jeffrey now."
So, it should come as no surprise that she's blown me away once again. This time, with a video she posted yesterday to Instagram with the caption: "If you’ve been cutting cauliflower through the top and getting little bits all over your kitchen, I have a better way to do it!!"
Of course I've been getting little bits of cauliflower all over my kitchen every time I break up a head into florets. I have little bits of cauliflower stuck to my floorboard from 2015.
Essentially, she resists the temptation to hack at the top of the cauliflower head (or worse, go in from the side) to start cutting away bite-sized pieces—which almost always leads to a confetti-like spray of dismantled white scraps. Instead, she flips it over and removes the core of its stem, first. Then, she uses the tip of her knife to break away about a third of the head, and from there, cuts it into florets.
Garten's new book Cook Like a Pro comes out on October 28, and something tells me (okay, it's the second half of her Instagram caption) there's more cauliflower wisdom to come. If you need me in the meantime, I'll be practicing this technique.
To Use Up All That Cauliflower
Do you have a favorite Ina Garten trick (or recipe)? Let us know in the comments!
Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.